U.S Stock Indexes Edge Lower in Morning Trading; Oil Rises

(AP) —
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Real-estate companies led U.S. stock indexes lower in morning trading Friday, extending the market’s losses from a day earlier. Energy stocks bucked the trend and rose as oil prices headed higher. Investors were looking ahead to a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day in hopes of gleaning whether the central bank will raise interest rates again later this month.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,972 as of 11:18 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,377. The Nasdaq composite index slid 9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,851.

LOOKING FOR CLUES: Several Fed officials have signaled in recent days that the central bank is ready to resume raising interest rates as soon as this month, citing a strengthening U.S. economy, signs of higher inflation and a surging stock market. Investors will be listening for Yellen’s view later Friday, when she gives a speech in Chicago on the Fed’s economic outlook. Traders in futures markets have already put the probability of a rate hike at 75 percent, according to data tracked by the CME Group. Just last week, that probability had been pegged at well below 50 percent.

BIG-BOX DISAPPOINTMENT: Costco slid 4.2 percent a day after the warehouse club operator reported earnings that missed estimates. Costco also said it is going to raise its membership fees. The stock fell $7.39 to $170.59.

SHOOTING BLANKS: American Outdoor Brands, formerly called Smith & Wesson, fell 3.1 percent after the firearms manufacturer cut its outlook, citing declining sales. The stock shed 61 cents to $18.77.

SAD FACE: Revlon slid 4 percent after the beauty-products company said its business suffered in the fourth quarter as consumers continued to do more shopping online and at specialty retailers during the year-end shopping season. The stock lost $1.35 to $32.70.

SALES SLUMP: L Brands fell 1.9 percent after the retailer disclosed a big decline in its sales in February. Its shares dipped $1.03 to $52.38.

DARK CLOUDS: Nutanix tumbled 19 percent after the enterprise cloud platform services provider gave a forecast for the third quarter that was worse than Wall Street had expected. The stock gave up $5.93 to $25.20.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Big Lots climbed 3.6 percent after the discount retailer reported a larger profit than analysts had expected. The stock added $1.88 to $54.13.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was down 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 0.6 percent higher. Britain’s FTSE was down 0.1 percent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi sank 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.7 percent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $53.19 a barrel in New York. The contract fell $1.22 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 57 cents, or 1 percent, at $55.65 a barrel.

TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.51 percent from 2.48 percent late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 114.49 yen from 114.51 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0555 from $1.0502.

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